Most people understand that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Yet many do not understand the context of Christmas, which provides us the meaning of Jesus' birth.
The Bible says,
This grace was given us in Christ before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus…
2 Timothy 1:9-10
Christmas is God giving grace to the human race through the birth of Jesus. To fully appreciate God's gift of grace to us through the birth of Jesus, we must first go back to before time began.
An often quoted verse is 2 Timothy 2:15, which says:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Let’s take a look at this verse in context.
The author is Paul.
The recipient is Timothy.
Timothy was the Pastor/Teacher of the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3).
Paul wrote an earlier letter to Timothy while Timothy was in Ephesus (1 Timothy).
In this letter, Paul explained why he wanted Timothy to remain in Ephesus: “...to command certain men not to teach false doctrines
Ephesians 1:3 tells us we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 says,
“Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.”
The word blessed means the wonderful good one person receives from the overwhelming kindness of another.
God the Father, in his overwhelming kindness, has blessed us wonderfully in Christ with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 2:7).
God’s overwhelming kindness is called grace and comes to us freely through what Jesus has done for us (Ephesians 1:6).
In Romans 7:7-25, we are introduced to a person who wanted to please God by how he lived, by what he thought, and by what he desired, yet he was frustrated because of his continued failure to live a life pleasing toGod no matter how hard he tried (Romans 7:14-20).
The standard for this person’s behavior was the Ten Commandments, the law (Romans 7:7).
This man delighted in the Ten Commandments (Romans 7:22).
He knew the law was holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12).
He understood from Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 that to live according to the Ten Commandments would bring, life, freedom, and peace.
1 Corinthians 15:22 says,
“For as in Adam all die, so
in Christ all will be made alive.”
Nobody wants to die.
Yet everybody dies.
But the good news is that “in
Christ” all will be made alive!
What does this mean?
What is Paul, the writer of 1
Corinthians, writing about when he says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ
all will be made alive”?
Let’s take a look at the
Some in Corinth were
believers in Christ, his death, and resurrection, but not believers in the
resurrection of those who belonged to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:12).
2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
This verse teaches us that if anyone is “in Christ”, he is a new creation, and the old is gone and the new has come.
Let’s break this verse down in its context by answering some questions.
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
What is the new creation?
What is the old that has gone?
What is the new that is here?
The context of this verse begins in 2 Corinthians 3.
The writer of 2 Corinthians is Paul.
"... if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love…then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind."
It is the heart of Jesus that we give away to others what we have freely received from him...the same encouragement, the same love, the same tenderness, the same compassion.
Today, receive the encouragement that comes from knowing who you are in Christ.
Be encouraged by knowing you are not under law, but under grace.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ...if any affection and compassion..."
Paul describes the love of Jesus as a love of affection and compassion.
The affectionate love of Jesus is a tender love, filled with emotion from deep within his heart.
It is the love of a parent to a child.
It is the of love a parent that desires to hold a child close in the parent’s arms because the parent holds the child close in his/her heart.
It is the affection of a Father eager to love a son who is lost, who excitedly runs to his son when he returns and then embraces his son with a compassionate hug.
"Therefore, if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any COMFORT FROM HIS LOVE..."
Christ's love comforts us.
His love relaxes us, puts us at peace.
His comforting love sets us free.
It sets us free from fearing judgment.
It sets us free from wondering if our sins are forgiven.
It sets us free from worrying if we can lose our salvation.
It is comforting to know that we are loved unconditionally by Jesus.
It is comforting to know that in his great love for us, he laid down his life to pay the death penalty for our sins.
When we wake up in the morning, we get ready for the day.
We put on our clothes for the day.
Wherever we go, our clothes go too! Just as we put on our clothes for the day, we are to clothe ourselves in love and put on love.
When we clothe ourselves in love, we are dressing ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness.
Colossians 3:12-14 tells us:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, CLOTHE YOURSELVES with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.